#MormonArtsSunday in Berkeley

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This is our ward’s fourth annual Mormon Arts Sunday, though I’m the only one really aware of that fact. This year I brought back the sacrament-meeting topic from year one, What Creating Teaches Me About the Creator.

Speaker One

Our first speaker was a fifteen-year-old writer of stories, novels, and screenplays. He noted two things about God he’s learned from creating:

First, sometimes he feels frustration when art doesn’t turn out the way it’s supposed to. Yet our Heavenly Parents don’t strike us down with lightning!

Second, sometimes when writing you can get in the zone and that is true joy! This, he said, helps us understand our Parents love for us.

The rest of his talk, for a while, had me worried he was going off the rails comparing Odin to Jesus (he started, after all, by comparing Odin’s mead to Jesus’s Holy Spirit), but he ended up having a great point.

Succinctly: Odin’s self-centeredness v Jesus.

Odin hung himself from a tree to understand magic.

Jesus was hung from a tree to understand other people.

This understanding allows him to create ways to save us.

Well spoken, young man.

Speaker Two

This speaker is a fourth-generation leatherworker currently designing soft goods (eg, wallets, backpacks) for Levi’s. He started by quoting Genesis chapter one and his belief that sharing Creation with God makes us more like him. He suggested that this is why we ephasize the Law of Chastity so much—to know that God has given us the power to create a human is evidence we are related to God.

He added some thoughts about design processes as represented in the scriptures (God seems to have “sketched” things before he created them) and closed with this:

Creation defines me as one of his sons.

Speaker Three

The third speaker, I now know, is the San Francisco charter president of Women in Comedy. She likes comedy because  it allows truth telling and is, along with the gospel, all that makes life tolerable.

She quoted Gordon B Hinckley’s Stand for Something on humor, where he reminds us that if we can’t smile at ourselves, that’ll be a sad time.

She starts her standup routine by mentioning she is a practicing Mormon.

She also noted that there is humor in God’s creation—and not just sloths, but also … these animals whose name means forest angels? These things cover their eyes when they’re threatened, believing that if I can’t see you….

Humor can function as a defense mechanism. And creativity is a way to deal with pain. (Consider the great artists of history.) Therefore … perhaps God has experienced great pain?

She closed with stories of people she’s loved, who were very funny, and had lived lives rife with pain. But through the pain they found humor, and dealt sunshine.

Another of several ways she found to connect comedy and the gospel.

It’s easier than you might think.

Author: Theric Jepson

. Theric Jepson has been blogging since 2005, but he's been a gadfly-in-the-making for much, much longer. Most of his professional publications have been under his legal name, Eric W Jepson, but online he is better known by a variety of monikers beginning with the digraph th. Theric first published about Mormon literature in Brigham Young University's now defunct Collegiate Post, a student-run newspaper. That article is (happily) unavailable online as it reveals the tremendous ignorance of the author at that time. Theric has worked as a reporter and, briefly, the editor of the Tehachapi News. His columns from this time and other writings are available on his website. Although he considers himself primarily a fictionist, Theric writes in other forms as well. A partial list of his work follows. Blogs Thutopia The Weekly Svithe Fob Comics Short stories Afterlife The Oracle The Widower Nonfiction Living Literature Saturday's Werewolf

2 thoughts on “#MormonArtsSunday in Berkeley”

  1. Very cool (even if you jumped the gun [Mormon Arts Sunday is technically the second Sunday in June but really it’s fine to celebrate it whenever you can fit it in]).

    Also: creativity as a way to deal with pain is something I need to think more about.

  2. .

    I’ve decided to fit it in when I can, since I’m the only one in the ward really thinking about it in those terms. I can still wear my beret in June!

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